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What is gossip?

A research team from the University of Amsterdam found that 90 percent of total office conversation qualifies as gossip, but what actually is gossip?

Keep reading to find out…

What is gossip?

We often think of gossip as this evil leech in conversation looking to tear down the reputations of others, but researchers often define gossip more broadly as: “talking about people who aren’t present,” says Megan Robbins, an assistant professor of psychology at The University of California, Riverside in a Time article. “It’s something that comes very naturally to us”

The time article also quotes David Ludden, author of The Psychology of Language: An Integrated Approach. “It’s not necessarily negative, It can be positive or neutral.”

For example, in a 2019 meta-analysis published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, Robbins and a colleague found that, of the 52 minutes a day on average the 467 subjects spent gossiping, three-quarters of that gossip was actually neutral gossip, 15% was deemed as negative gossip, and 9% was positive gossip. In summary, gossip is simply talking about other people when they’re not around and can be positive, negative or neutral, but is most often neutral.

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